The candy sanctioned holiday is around the corner, otherwise known as Halloween. Now while all of our little ghosts and goblins get dressed up and ready for Trick-or-Treat, here are some Trick-or-Treat Tips that will help keep Halloween fun and cavity free.
Dr. G’s best Halloween candy choices IF your child needs to consume candy/chocolates: (sugar-free versions if possible)
- Kit Kat
- Nestle's Crunch
- Hershey's Chocolate
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Dr. G’s worst Halloween candy choices:
- Hard Outer Shell candies
- Chocolates filled with sticky ingredients
Dr. G’s Advice on Best and Worst Explained:
- Sugar free options (44% of kids eat sugar-free candy at Halloween)
- They don’t feed the bacteria in the mouth.
- Xylitol may in fact actually protect the teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increase saliva that rinses away excess sugars and acids.
- Chocolate (86% of kids eat chocolate at Halloween)
- It washes off your teeth much easier than other types of candy.
- TIP: Try the dark chocolate as it has less sugar than milk chocolate
- Avoid chocolate filled candy such as caramels
- Candy that melts quickly and disappears such as powdery candy (sugar straws)
- Tends to not actually stick to teeth.
- Sour candies tend to be more acidic which can weaken and damage the hard-outer shell of your teeth known as enamel which then makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
- Avoid hard candy as they stay in your mouth for a long time allowing cavity-causing bacteria a longer time to ruminate thereby increasing your risk of tooth decay. Additionally, people have the tendency to bite on hard candy, which can lead to cracked and broken teeth. (50% of kids eat hard candy at Halloween)
- Avoid sticky candies such as taffy and gummies as they are harder for your mouth to naturally break down and wash away with saliva and again increasing your risk of tooth decay. (57% of kids eat chewy candy at Halloween)
Dr. G’s Tips for Parents:
- Everyone pick their top 3 Halloween candies and tells each other why and remove the rest.
- You can set up a candy bank where your child can make withdrawals at later times.
- Have the candy as part of a meal, rather than a snack, so the acid-attack that candy causes is less harsh since other foods are involved thereby creating greater saliva output which washes away the tooth decaying bacteria.
- Brush after candy is consumed and at the very least rinse with water.
Sugar free options always top the lists as they reduce the acids produced by bacteria and increase saliva that rinses away excess sugars. They also don’t feed that cavity-causing bacteria that creates tooth decay.
But there are many more ways to have a fun and candy filled Halloween. Dark chocolate is the lowest in sugar and washes off teeth much easier when rinsing. Other great options are candies that quickly melt so they don’t have time to actually stick to your teeth and feed that pesky bacteria in your mouth.
You definitely want to stay away from candies that are sour as the acidity they create wreak havoc on the precious enamel on your teeth. Hard candies linger in your mouth and, again, provide the oral environment for cavities to develop. They can also cause cracked or broken teeth since biting on them is the usual response. Chewy and tacky styles are the other type of candy that prove difficult as they adhere to the tooth’s surface making it harder for your saliva to breakdown their composition.
With these quick go-to ideas, Halloween doesn’t have to become a battle of the sweets and therefore sacrifice your oral health.